Medical students as advocates for a healthy planet and healthy people: Designing an assessment that prepares learners to take action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Michelle McLean, Charlotte Phelps, Christian Moro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose:
Health professionals are being called on to be advocates for the planet to ensure health and well-being for current and future generations. Clean air, flourishing ecosystems, a stable climate, and nutritious food are required for health and well-being. Considering the deteriorating state of our natural environment, today’s health professionals need to be advocates for a healthy planet. This places an onus on tertiary institutions to prepare graduates to ‘take action’ for the planet and all of its inhabitants.

Materials and methods:
This report outlines the development of a team-based Planetary Health Assignment that equips learners to use at least two of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was identified at the design stage that an effective planetary health educational intervention should not only encourage learners to take action, but also embed creativity, with the best products available for public scrutiny. Several pedagogical principles were used in the design (authentic assessment, learner-centredness, creativity, scholarship).

Results:
During the first five years of implementation, minor refinements were made based on learner and academic feedback. The assignment criteria sheet was improved to the point that it encouraged thoughtful and reflective submissions, and tasked learners to provide achievable and realistic solutions to pressing environmental issues. The marking rubric was also developed to pro- vide quality feedback and insights for students.

Conclusions:
The design of this assessment, framed by the SDGs, allows learners flexibility in their choices while still meeting the required learning outcomes. With the assignment underpinned by a robust design, it provides students with both knowledge and experiences about how they might take action on the SDGs and become advocates for a healthy planet.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Teacher
Volume45
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023

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